The Power of the Grid
Recently on Henry Morgenstein’s “Essays”, he calls attention to the planning truth that goeth unspoken: the power of a healthy grid of streets.
If you have a grid of ten street by ten streets – you can all envision that – if you seek to go by car from one corner of the ten street grid to the other far corner, there are 184,000 possible ways to do that. You heard correctly, 184,000 ways to get from point A to point B.”
He continues, applying the analogy to Traverse City.
The point of all this? If you make one major road — the Old Town by pass for instance — they’ll all come roaring down that wide & welcoming way — and it will soon be stinky, clogged, overcrowded, noisy….
But if you leave the situation alone, some will come down tenth, some will go down seventh, some will take State, others Cass, others union.”
Traverse City residents and
fearful fearless leaders have heard this here before … and here (MW). The lesson repeated over and over and over and over is: maximize your grid while treating all your streets as livable streets (StreetFilms). Do it responsibly, of course. Slow our 2-3 ton beasts down and stop investing in “car cannons”– those arterial speed zones that border and divide the community. The attempt to “solve” our traffic problem with more arterials is insane in the full Einsteinian sense of the word.
To flip the approach, start thinking about people cannons (MW).
Henry concludes with a call for sanity. Balance.
For at least the next 20 years, let us focus all our resources on making towns navigable by foot, by car, by trolley, by bus, by train, by tram. It is not so much that we will ban cars as that we will make the alternatives enticing, fun, inexpensive, readily available, safe & warm. Everything that cars are now.
Contributions greatly appreciated.